Two years ago, I made a life-changing decision. I quit hospitality, an industry I had worked in for 18 years, to become a mortgage broker. It’s been a rewarding journey, and I want to share the things that have helped me along the way and the steps I took to make the change.
Do lots of research before taking the plunge. I spoke to brokers, BDMs and trainers before I made my decision to understand the industry, the role and the realities of being a broker. Coming from a different industry, I would be making a standing start. Speaking to lots of experienced people was a good way to set my expectations. I learnt very quickly that I wasn’t going to be making the big bucks, if any, in the first year, and potentially for much longer.
Choose your mentor wisely. Your mentor will play a vital role in your early broking career. You need guidance, someone to look up to and trust and someone who is available when you need them. You also need to consider how you want to pay your mentor. Some charge a flat monthly fee, some take a percentage of your commission, some take both. A good mentor not only teaches you about the industry and how to structure loans, but will also help you develop personal and professional skills required to take your business to the next level.
Interview lots of different aggregators. Your aggregator will power your business. You need to find out what they offer and how much they charge. Do you have a good rapport with the BDM? The best way to do this is to get in contact with their new business teams and meet their BDMs. Ask the BDMs to put you in contact with their brokers. Ask for their honest feedback. You will be surprised by how many brokers are willing to share their experiences with you. Get as much information as possible to help make your decision.
Get your website up and running as early as possible. It is very important to have this in place, especially for brokers who work from home, because it’s your shop-front. If you have some time on your hands, you can save cash and build it yourself using a platform like www.wix.com. Make it clear, simple and easy to navigate. Do your research by looking at established brokers’ websites to gather ideas.
Bank accreditations can take forever, so start the process as soon as you can. It took me around two months. You don’t have to be accredited with all the lenders on your aggregator panel. Discuss this with your mentor, who can help you choose the banks.
Developing your pipeline takes months. That means very little income from broking for at least the first three months, maybe up to 12. You need a plan for paying the bills. For the first six months of my broking career, I also worked part-time in hospitality and relied on savings, which meant I had money to live on. It took me nine months before I was able to quit hospitality completely, but now I’m reaping the benefits.
Getting new business is the name of the game. Many new-to-industry brokers fail to make it in their first year because they struggle to develop a regular supply of new leads. When you first start, get your phone out and call every contact to tell them about your new business. Tell everyone you meet about your business — your barista, your doctor, your dog walker. Everyone. This will help create awareness of your business and eventually lead to opportunities for business. Once you have built a CRM, make sure you keep in touch with them through phone calls, blog posts and email newsletters. I also never miss an opportunity to hand out my card, and if I’m talking to someone I’ve just met, I take their email address and phone number so I can give them a call.
Develop relationships with real estate agents, accountants and financial planners in your area. Meet them for a cup of coffee, make them aware of your business. Who knows, you may hit it off with one of them and they will eventually turn into a referral partner, who supplies you with regular leads.
Ask your customers to refer you. This is where the majority of my new leads come from. Once you start getting some business, the best referral source are your existing clients. Keep in contact with them and ask them if they have family or friends you could help. This has worked exceptionally well for me. I also ask them if they know good accountants or financial planners to whom they can introduce me. This is the best way to meet new referral partners as the introduction come from a warm source.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, talk to everyone and ask for everything before and after you become a broker. Speak to as many people as you can in the industry before you become a broker. After you become a broker, ask your customers for referrals, ask the banks for the best deals for your customers. And ask your mentor for lots of support and guidance.
Vinay Gehi is the founder/ director of Copper Finance.
Vinay’s background is in customer service, having spent many years in the hospitality industry, great customer service is his passion. Vinay runs First Home Buyers Information Sessions throughout Melbourne to help First home buyers understand the buying process.
Vinay is a diehard cricket fan and is looking forward to the Ashes this summer.
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